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Brazilian Grand Prix - the final race of the season 
2nd-Nov-2008 11:28 am
f1
A quick recap of some things I posted in my blog from Friday's practice sessions, Saturday practice and qualifying:
It's the final race of the season; Hamilton wins the Drivers' Championship if...
  • Massa wins the race, Hamilton must finish at least fifth to be champion
  • Massa is second, Hamilton must finish at least seventh
  • Massa is third or lower, Hamilton is champion regardless of his result
Massa was fastest in the first practice session (1:12.305) and second quickest in the afternoon session behind Alonso (FA posted 1:12.296). Alonso was also fastest on Saturday morning (1:12.141).

The provisional grid: FM, JT, KR, LH, HK, FA, SV, NH, SB, TG; NP, MW, RK, DC, RB; KN, JB, NR, GF, AS. (Fastest qualifying times were: FM 1:11.830 in Q1; HK 1:11.768 in Q2; FM 1:12.368 in Q3)
No sign of any penalties so far, so this should be the starting grid.
It's been raining and is currently raining, and it's likely to be declared a wet race. The Globe and Mail says "forecasters predict an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms around the start of the race"!

The Telegrah reports that a "Formula One fan who bet on Lewis Hamilton winning the World Championship more than a decade ago is gearing up to win £125,000". Apparently the punter's son used to race go-karts against Hamilton.

As the cars exit the pit lane to find their place on the grid, the air temperature is 28°C; track 33°C

Despite all the forecasts of rain, it's dry right now (15mins before the start).

The drivers are getting into their cars for the final race of the 2008 season.

As usual, my race notes are behind a cut to save you from spoilers if you're not watching live ...

3mins before the start ... and it's starting to rain!

The sea of Ferrari T-shirts are covered by waterproofs :)

FIA announce the start is aborted - it will be delayed by 10mins

The showers have stopped again, as the Safety Car works its way to the front of the grid

FA's pit crew tell him no rain for 40mins

The track is wet but no rain for ~40mins - do you start on intermediate or dry tyres?

Note: a wet race means the teams don't have to use both the tyre compounds

Safety Car has just done a lap - some corners are damp, some dry, main straight is wet

Looks like the front runners are on intermediates (wet tyres)

FM leads off on the formation lap - a chance for the drivers to check where the wettest parts are

ITV say RK is the only one on dry tyres

RK enters the pits instead of joining the grid

01/71: HK lets LH through and closes the door on SV
DC off in Turn 1? :(
Safety Car deployed
NP and DC are both off in T1

02[SC]: FM, JT, KR, LH, SV, FA, HK, SB
DC's white liveried Red Bull is lifted away - that's not how anyone wanted DC's F1 career to end :(

03[SC]: GF pits - changes to dry tyres
Replay shows DC, NP and KN come together in T1 - looks like NR hit DC and caused it

04[SC]: SC in at end of this lap
Official FIA live timing chart is struggling in the wet again - just showed FM + JT had stopped!
SC heads for the pits

05/71: HK passes FA for P6 but FA retakes it

06: FM fastest lap 1:19.958
NH takes P11 from RB

07: FM f/lap 1:18.859
ITV-F1 interview DC - he was going to do doughnuts when he finished the race :)

08: KR takes a look at JT
NR and JB pit
NH passes MW for P10
Honda release JB into NR - fortunately JB avoids him

09: SB and TG pit ... as do AS and KN

10/71: FM, JT, KR, LH ...
SV, FA and MW pit ... RB too
GF on dry tyres goes fastest in Sector 2
A fire extinguisher has gone off in the Honda pit box!

11: FM pits - 6.5s stop
HK and NH pit too ... and RK

12: JT, KR and LH all pit
JT - 10.4s - long stop
LH - 7.5s
GF hassling KR

13: FA f/lap 1:17.443
LH passes JT
JT loses the tail and slithers off track, losing 2 more places

14: KR is clearly slowing up GF and LH

15/71: FM f/lap 1:16.888
FM, SV, FA, KR, GF, LH, TG, SB

16: FM f/lap 1:16.245
LH needs to pass GF for P5 because right now FM would be World Champion

17: FM f/lap 1:15.845
LH thinks about a Turn 1 move on GF but backs off
KR has picked up his lap times now FM is 9secs ahead

18: FA f/lap 1:15.416
LH takes the risk and passes GF in T1, holds P5 through T2

19: SV f/lap 1:15.160 - under 1s behind FM

20/71: FM f/lap 1:14.772
FM, SV, FA, KR, LH, GF, TG, SB; retirements: NP, DC
TG takes P6 away from GF

21: JT elbows his way inside SB in T1, pushes SB off track - somehow SB finds the road again
ITV-F1 wonder if the stewards will look at JT's move - doubt it as it won't help Ferrari win

22: SV f/lap 1:14.565

23: LH 9.6s behind KR but only 1.5s ahead of TG

24: FM f/lap 1:14.541

25/71: FM f/lap 1:14.406
FM, SV, FA, KR, LH, TG, GF, JT

26: SV f/lap 1:14.214

27: FM f/lap 1:14.161
LH closing on KR but TG still close to LH
HK passes JT for P8

28: SV pits from P2
HK takes P7 from GF

29: Pit-car radio tells FA his race is with FM

30/71: FM, FA, KR, LH, TG, SV, HK, GF; retirements: NP, DC

32: LH f/lap 1:14.159

33: TG f/lap 1:14.057 ... although he didn't pick up fuel in the first pit stop, so he'll have to stop soon
JB pits from P14

34: FM f/lap 1:13.755
FIA live timing info is wrong again - just showed everyone from JT (P9) down have been lapped

35/71: FM, FA, KR, LH, TG, SV, HK, GF

Half-distance

37: FM f/lap 1:13.736
TG pits from P5 - slow getting the fuel hose on - fueled to the finish

38: FM pits - 9.4s stop - he'll need to stop again

40/71: GF and SB pit

41: FA pits from P1 - 9.5s stop
LH pits too - 8.9s stop - rejoins in P6 between HK and JT

42: NR pits

43: HK pits from P5 - 8.8s

44: KR pits from P1 - smoke from the front-left brake but that's not unusual
JT pits too
JB takes P11 from teammate RB

45/71: FM, SV, FA, KR, LH, MW, HK, TG (MW needs to pit again)

47: LH is 3.0s behind KR, or 21.1s behind FM ... not that it matters as he's in P5 which is all he needs to be World Champion

49: MW pits from P6, so now all the front runners have stopped twice

50/71: FM, SV, FA, KR, LH, HK, TG, JT; retirements: NP, DC

51: ITV-F1 wonder (as I was too) if McLaren have told LH to ease off a little on the 2nd-race engine, to make sure it gets him to the end?

52: SV pits from P2 - 6.4s

53: FM has a comfortable 9.8s lead over FA

54: SV just 2.2s behind LH - presumably LH won't fight if SV makes a move - better to finish P5 than wipe out trying to defend P4

55/71: FM, FA, KR, LH, SV, HK, TG, JT

57: SV now just 1s behind LH - hope he picks a safe place to try to pass
JB pits from P11

58: LH has picked up his pace and is matching SV
Radio for RK says it could rain in 10 minutes - that'll be about lap 65

59: If it does rain, FM and LH have to pit - they can't afford to risk sliding off

60/71: FM, FA, KR, LH, SV, HK, TG, JT; retirements: NP, DC

61: ITV-F1 say dark clouds coming in towards the last corner and main straight

63: Pit-car for NR tells him to pit as soon as he sees rain droplets on hius visor

64: ITV-F1 report rain in the paddock area ... and you can see it on the camera lens
FA reports he can see rain spots
KN pits - is he taking wet tyres early?

65/71: FM, FA, KR, LH, SV, HK, TG, JT
GF and NH pit - NH moves to inters - didn't see GF

66: Most of the midfield drivers are pitting
SV takes a look at passing LH but LH defends P4

67: Ferrari are rushing to bring out the wet tyres ... and they're for KR
LH pits, followed by SV

68: FM pits for inters
Looks like only the Toyotas haven't changed tyres

69: LH has to keep SV behind him or he loses the Championship

70/71: LH runs a bit wide lapping RK
SV passes RK but RK unlaps himself
LH runs wide - SV takes P5!

Final lap: If LH can't pass SV, or if TG slides off (on dry tyres), then FM is world champion!
FM takes the chequered flag, and the crowd go wild!
LH has passed TG!
Ferrari pits are jumping for joy, but LH crosses the line in P5 - YES!!!! :)

The unsporting crowd boo as LH is on his slow down lap - disgraceful

The FIA said before the race that they were going to invite the (new) world champion's family to wave the chequered flag, but there's no way they can know who was going to take it, which is why they were still in the garages

One of the Hondas is on fire! (It's JB) Where are the marshals? Busy booing Lewis too?

As the Brazilian national anthem plays, FM barely holds back the tears

The flags raised above the podium are almost blown away - they're held horizontal by the wind

I do feel a bit sorry for Massa - he must have thought he was World Champion when he crossed the finish line because LH was in P6

Mind you, looking at the sad faces of all the Ferrari fans in the crowd, I wish McLaren had taken the Constructors' Championship too - booing Hamilton is pathetic

Now I just hope that the FIA/stewards don't do anything stupid like decide to change the result!

Provisional result: FM, FA, KR, SV, LH, TG, HK, JT, MW, NH (+1 lap), RK, NR, JB, SB, RB, AS (+2 laps), KN, GF
DNF: NP, DC

Interviews:
FM: "difficult weather"; "so proud"; "unfortunately we missed 1 point"; "we're going to learn a lot"; "that's the way it is"; "very emotional"
FA: "good fight with Kimi"; "much more than we expected"
KR: "I knew what I was supposed to do"; "not the best race ever"; "not the easiest year for the team"
FM: "we did everything perfect today; unfortunately it was not enough"; "racing's like that"; "everyone did a great job"; "we need to be happy with our Constructors' Championship"; "we need to congratulate Lewis"

It must have been tough for FM to be up there, but he held it together well.

The Formula1 website isn't responding - I wonder if everyone is checking that the stewards haven't stepped in :)

Final championship points standings:
Drivers' Championship:
  1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 98pts
  2. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 97
  3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 75
  4. Robert Kubica (BMW) 75
  5. Fernando Alonso (Renault) 61
  6. Nick Heidfeld (BMW) 60
  7. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) 53
  8. Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) 35
  9. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 31
  10. Timo Glock (Toyota) 25
  11. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 21
  12. Nelsinho Piquet (Renault) 19
  13. Nico Rosberg (Williams) 17
  14. Rubens Barrichello (Honda) 11
  15. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams) 9
  16. David Coulthard (Red Bull) 8
  17. Sebastian Bourdais (Toro Rosso) 4
  18. Jenson Button (Honda) 3
  19. Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Takuma Sato (Super Aguri) and Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri) 0
Constructors' Championship:
  1. Ferrari 172pts
  2. McLaren - Mercedes 151
  3. BMW Sauber 135
  4. Renault 80
  5. Toyota 56
  6. Scudaria Toro Rosso - Ferrari 39
  7. Williams - Toyota 26
  8. Honda 14
  9. Force India - Ferrari 0
  10. Super Aguri - Honda 0
    *Note - Super Aguri withdrew from the championship after round four.
So Lewis Hamilton becomes the youngest World Champion ever and the ninth British world champion:
  1. Mike Hawthorn (1958)
  2. Graham Hill (1962 and '68)
  3. Jim Clark (1963 and '65)
  4. John Surtees (1964)
  5. Jackie Stewart (1969, '71 and '73)
  6. James Hunt (1976)
  7. Nigel Mansell (1992)
  8. Damon Hill (1996)
  9. Lewis Hamilton (2008)

[both images from BBC News]
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